Retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is on top of their ORM efforts. So on top of them, in fact, that they’ve offered Jersey Shore cast member Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and his “Jersey Shore” cast members financial compensation to stop wearing their clothes on the popular MTV show. MTV calls it a “clever PR stunt” saying they’d “love to work with them on other ways they can leverage Jersey Shore to reach the largest youth audience on television,” in a public statement issued by the network.
Even if you don’t watch the hit show, you can hardly escape the cast of the Jersey Shore, a group of wild, obnoxious twenty-something’s famous for, well, acting like wild, obnoxious twenty-something’s. With cast members frequenting pop culture publications across a variety of media sources, the cast has appeared everywhere from People Magazine to an episode of South Park.
If these kids are so famous, why is Abercrombie offering them financial compensation to avoid association? Abercrombie says that the linking of their brand to “The Situation” and his castmates goes against the company’s “aspirational nature” of its brand and may be “distressing” to current supporters of the company. Apparently “t-shirt time” and racy, semi-nude advertising campaigns don’t mesh?
What do you think, reputation protection, or PR stunt?